Tip #1: A portfolio’s weakest image can make or break it. Try to include images in a set that have an even level of skill or accomplishment.
Tip #2: A strong portfolio showcases a photographer’s breadth of technical skill as well as their depth of visual creativity.
Tip #3: Show viewers stories/concepts they’ve never seen in ways unexpected and refreshing.
Tip #4: Let the story or concept drive the technique or execution. Let the “why” of your portfolio drive your “how.”
Tip #5: A portfolio needs both a visual coherence and unity as well as a variety of subjects or compositions. A set of images should “fit” together without the appearance of redundancy.
Tip #6: In a portfolio, order matters. Begin and end the set of images strong while sequencing them in an intentional way.
Tip #7: In documentary or photojournalistic portfolios, the “decisive moment” is still a key element in successful storytelling.
Tip #8: The strongest of portfolios make the viewers laugh, want to cry, or at the very least, feel something. Images should evoke emotion and empathy.
Tip #9: Getting it right in camera matters. Overediting can hurt a portfolio, especially when it overwhelms the photo.
Tip #10: Look at past winners as some indication what judges normally award. Notice the little things. It’s all in the details.
Quote by a 2018 ATPI contest judge: “Patience is a very important virtue in photography.” PJ Judge